Semcac serves many in 2012
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 4:55 AM
When Semcac executive director Wayne Stenberg sat down to talk with Houston County commissioners last week, he had a lot of ground to cover in a short time.
"We're located in seven core counties (including Houston)," Stenberg said, "And, we also serve four other counties in southeastern Minnesota."
Semcac brings everything from Head Start for preschoolers to Senior Dining to the area.
Giving a "broad-brush" summation of the organization's activities in 2012, Stenberg reported that the agency has served individuals and families in the region for 46 years.
Programs originate from 79 locations. Semcac has 77 full-time employees and 42 seasonal full-time workers. There are also 96 part-time and 20 seasonal part-time employees. Last year, 3,573 volunteers also bolstered efforts, donating 115,258 hours.
The Herald contacted Stenberg after the meeting for some Houston County specific statistics for last year.
Semcac Planning & Development Director Maria Henry provided the following information on the agency's activities. Additional federal statistics were provided by the Herald.
Energy assistance went to 642 households in Houston County. The average per-household level of assistance was $534 for a total of $343,150.
Weatherization help was provided to 28 homes, averaging $6,700 per household. That's a total of $187,000.
One dwelling received a $28,000 Fix-Up Fund loan. Three other homes received Small Cities Development Programs funds. The maximum assistance under SCDP is $18,000.
Over 2,000 visits were made to the Semcac Food Shelf (Caledonia).
The Family Homeless Prevention Assistance Program and Rural Housing Assistance Stability Program helped nine households and 22 individuals.
Financial Literacy Education was provided to 88 individuals.
As far as providing information, referral and outreach for Semcac and other agency programs, an amazing 2,963 households and 7,460 individuals were assisted (the U.S. Census Bureau reports an estimated 8,591 total housing units in the county in 2011 and a total population of 18,837 in 2012).
The Houston County Care and Share holiday project encompassed 282 households and 814 individuals in 2012.
Crisis Assistance programs touched 73 households and 195 individuals. Semcac pass-through crisis dollars as well as contract services through Houston County Care and Share provided this service.
Head Start served 28 families in Houston County. Six of those children had special needs.
Semcac also provided the following comprehensive services for all children:
Developmental screenings (hearing & vision, emotional health, etc.)
Support for medical and oral health exams, including follow-up treatment when needed.
Also, required immunizations (depending on the child's age) are part of the program.
Monitoring body weight and working with parents when concerns are identified, as well as providing nutritious meals and snacks also fall under the auspices of "comprehensive services."
At the other end of the age spectrum, Meals-on-Wheels delivered 11,293 hot dinners to 87 senior residents in Houston County.
Senior Dining totaled 21,172 congregate meals to 665 (unduplicated) seniors.
Under RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program), 76 seniors volunteered 5,399 hours of service to 18 partners or stations.
The volunteer driver program gave 4,607 rides for medical assistance such as doctor's appointments. Twenty-six volunteer drivers donated 7,747 hours.
Houston County Public transit buses provided 16,054 rides. The Houston City Hurricane bus service added an additional 6,791 rides.
The Semcac Family Planning Clinic saw 48 patients from Houston County for family planning and STI (sexually transmitted infection) screening and treatment services. Under the same program, there were 10 outreach and educational events conducted in Houston County.
Stenberg said that Semcac partners with an astonishing 765 community entities throughout the region. That includes everything from counties to schools and much, much more. Each one of those must be listed in the reporting process.
Governmental policies affect Semcac every day. "There was a 25 percent cut to energy assistance from the federal government here in the last year," Stenberg told commissioners.
"You have just about everything that you can have, right here in Houston County," he continued.
The federal sequester cuts won't end services, but will make "the pots of money smaller," Stenberg reported. "We'll have to sharpen our pencils."
County Commissioner Steve Schuldt also serves on the Semcac board.